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CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




FROM 

E.J. Patten 



Cornell University Library 
PG 3452.S5 1910 

Silence / 





Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924026686109 



MODERN AUTHORS' SERIES 

SILETsTCE 

BY 

LEONIDAS ANDREIYEFF 



Translated from the Russian 

by 

JOHN COURNOS 



SECOND EDITION 



PHILADELPHIA 

BROWN BROTHERS 
1910 

A 



Copyright, 1910 
By BROWN BROTHERS 



FOREWORD 



When Maxim Gorky had finished writing 
that wonderful series of tramp stories which 
astonished by their force and originaHty the 
outside world no less than the native, when it 
became evident that his contact with the civi- 
lized world and his entry into the political 
arena had not served to add to his literary 
prestige, there appeared on the scene a young 
man, by the name of Leonidas Andreiyeff, with 
a small volume of tales, fittingly dedicated to 
the author of " Chelkash." 

It was one of those peculiarly timed events, 
which occur occasionally in the domain of lit- 
erature no less in that of history, when a man 
of genius appears in our midst — in the nick of 
time, as it were — to carry on some unfinished 
work, and to hammer the next link in the chain 
of prevailing circumstances. Since this initial 

ill 



production Andreiyeff has been unusually pro- 
lific, having several volumes of short stories to 
his credit and a number of plays, the latter be- 
ing a late development. 

There are critics who are inclined to place 
Andreiyeff above Gorky. This is hardly fair 
to either man. Both are thorough moderns, 
both are rebels against the life that is, both 
have shown a decided leaning toward the 
Nietzschean view, the religion of individual- 
ism, have expounded through their art the place 
which the Ego occupies in our lives ; both have 
attracted the young generation, have raised a 
storm of applause and protest from antagonis- 
tic factions, at the same time laying their im- 
press upon their time by influencing armies of 
young writers. The rich, red blood, the crude 
blind force — are Gorky's; the refinement, the 
conscious artistry — are Andreiyefif's. Though 
linked in their literary sympathies, each man 
stands on his own footing. 

Andreiyeflf's earlier stories, one of which is 
presented here, are characterized particularly 
by their purely artistic quality, rather than by 
the iconoclastic spirit which marks his later 
work. " Silence " has no moral to teach, no 
idea to inculcate. It is simply a story — or bet- 

. iv 



ter, a melancholy poem, in which the reader is 
subjected to a series of heart pangs, and is 
forced to listen to a music, in which the domi- 
nant motif is a terrible, oppressive and crush- 
ing silence. We are compelled to strain our 
ear to catch the least noise which might break 
that silence — but it never comes. 

J.C. 



SILENCE 



One moonlit night in May, while the night- 
ingales sang, Father Ignatius' wife entered his 
chamber. Her countenance expressed suffer- 
ing, and the little lamp she held in her hand 
trembled. Approaching her husband, she 
touched his shoulder, and managed to say be- 
tween her sobs : 

" Father, let us go to Verochka." 

Without turning his head, Father Igfnatius 
glanced severely at his wife over the rims of 
his spectacles, and looked long and intently, till 
she waved her unoccupied hand and dropped 
on a low divan. 

" That one toward the other be so pitiless ! " 
she pronounced slowly, with emphasis on the 

7 



final syllables, and her good plump face was 
distorted with a grimace of pain and exaspera- 
tion, as if in this manner she wished to express 
what stern people they were — her husband and 
daughter. 

Father Ignatius smiled and arose. Closing 
his book, he removed his spectacles, placed 
them in the case and meditated. His long, 
black beard, inwoven with silver threads, lay 
dignified on his breast, and it slowly heaved at 
every deep breath, 

"Well, let us go!" said he. 

Olga Stepanovna quickly arose and entreated 
in an appealing, timid voice: 

" Only don't revile her, father ! You know 
the sort she is." 

Vera's chamber was in the attic, and the 
narrow, wooden stair bent and creaked under 
the heavy tread of Father Ignatius. Tall and 
ponderous, he lowered his head to avoid strik- 
ing the floor of the upper story, and frowned 
disdainfully when the white jacket of his wife 
brushed his face. Well he knew that nothing 
would come of their talk with Vera. 

" Why do you come ? " asked Vera, raising 
a bared arm to her eyes. The other arm lay 
on top of a white summer blanket hardly dis- 

8 



tinguishable from the fabric, so white, trans- 
lucent and cold was its aspect. 

" Verochka ! " began her mother, but sob- 
bing, she grew silent. 

" Vera ! " said her father, making an effort 
to soften his dry and hard voice. " Vera, tell 
us, what troubles you ? " 

Vera was silent. 

" Vera, do not we, your mother and I, de- 
serve your confidence? Do we not love you? 
And is there some one nearer to you than we ? 
Tell us about your sorrow, and believe me 
you'll feel better for it. And we too. Look 
at your aged mother, how much she suffers ! " 

"Verochka!" 

"And I , . ." The dry voice trembled, 
truly something had broken in it. "And I . , . 
do you think I find it easy? As if I did not 
see that some sorrow is gnawing at you — and 
what is it? And I, your father, do not know 
what it is. Is it right that it should be so ? " 

Vera was silent. Father Ignatius very cau- 
tiously stroked his beard, as if afraid that his 
fingers would enmesh themselves involuntarily 
in it, and continued : 

"Against my wish you went to St. Peters- 
burg — did I pronounce a curse upon you, you 

9 



who disobeyed me? Or did I not give you 
money? Or, you'll say, I have not been kind? 
Well, why then are you silent ? There, you've 
had your St. Petersburg ! " 

Father Ignatius became silent, and an image 
arose before him of something huge, of granite, 
and terrible, full of invisible dangers and 
strange and indifferent people. And there, 
alone and weak, was his Vera and there they 
had lost her. An awful hatred against that 
terrible and mysterious city grew in the soul of 
Father Ignatius, and an anger against his 
daughter who was silent, obstinately silent. 

" St. Petersburg has nothing to do with it," 
said Vera, morosely, and closed her eyes. "And 
nothing is the matter with me. Better go to 
bed, it is late." 

" Verochka," whimpered her mother. " Lit- 
tle daughter, do confess to me." 

"Akh, mamma ! " impatiently Vera inter- 
rupted her. 

Father Ignatius sat down on a chair and 
laughed. 

" Well, then it's nothing? " he inquired, iron- 
ically. 

" Father," sharply put in Vera, rai'sing her- 
self from the pillow, " you know that I love you 

lO 



and mother. Well, I do feel a little weary. 
But that will pass. Do go to sleep, and I also 
wish to sleep. And to-morrow, or some other 
time, we'll have a chat." 

Father Ignatius impetuously arose so that 
the chair hit the wall, and took his wife's hand. 

" Let us go." 

"Verochka!" 

" Let us go, I tell you ! " shouted Father 
Ignatius. " If she has forgotten God, shall 
we . . ." 

Almost forcibly he led Olga Stepanovna out 
of the room, and when they descended the 
stairs, his wife, decreasing her gait, said in a 
harsh whisper : 

" It was you, priest, who have made her such. 
From you she learnt her ways. And you'll an- 
swer for it. Akh, unhappy creature that I 
am!" 

And she wept, and, as her eyes filled with 
tears, her foot, missing a step, would descend 
with a sudden jolt, as if she were eager to fall 
into some existent abyss below. 

Fl-om that day Father Ignatius ceased to 
speak with his daughter, but she seemed not to 
notice it. As before she lay in her room, or 
walked about, continually wiping her eyes with 

II 



the palms of her hands as if they contained 
some irritating foreign substance. And 
crushed between these two silent people, the 
jolly, fun-loving wife of the priest quailed and 
seemed lost, not knowing what to say or do. 

Occasionally Vera took a stroll. A week fol- 
lowing the interview she went out in the even- 
ing, as was her habit. She was not seen alive 
again, as on this evening she threw herself 
under the train, which cut her in two. 

Father Ignatius himself directed the funeral. 
His wife was not present in church, as at the 
news of Vera's death she was prostrated by a 
stroke. She lost control of her feet, hands and 
tongue, and she lay motionless in the semi- 
darkened room when the church bells rang out. 
She heard the people, as they issued out of 
church and passed the house, intone the chants, 
and she made an effort to raise her hand, and 
to make a sign of the cross, but her hand re- 
fused to obey ; she wished to say : " Farewell, 
Vera ! " but the tongue lay in her mouth huge 
and heavy. And her attitude was so calm, 
that it gave one an impression of restfulness 
or sleep. Only her eyes remained open. 

At the funeral, in church, were many people 
who knew Father Ignatius and many stran- 

12 



gers, and all bewailed Vera's terrible death, 
and tried to find in the movements and voice of 
Father Ignatius tokens of a deep sorrow. 
They did not love Father Ignatius because of 
his severity and proud manners, his scorn of 
sinners, for his unforgiving spirit, his envy 
and covetousness, his habit of utilizing every 
opportunity to extort money from his parish- 
ioners. They all wished to see him suffer, to 
see his spirit broken, to see him conscious in 
his two-fold guilt for the death of his daughter 
— as a cruel father and a bad priest — incapable 
of preserving his own flesh from sin. They 
cast searching glances at him, and he, feeling 
these glances directed toward his back, made 
efforts to hold erect its broad and strong ex- 
panse, and his thoughts were not concerning 
his dead daughter, but concerning his own 
dignity. 

"A hardened priest ! " said, with a shake of 
his head, Karzenoff, a carpenter, to whom 
Father Ignatius owed five roubles for frames. 

And thus, hard and erect. Father Ignatius 
reached the burial ground, and in the same 
manner he returned. Only at the door of his 
wife's chamber did his spine relax a little, but 
this may have been due to the fact that the 

13 



height of the door was inadequate to admit his 
tall figure. The change from broad daylight 
made it difficult for him to distinguish the face 
of his wife, but, after scrutiny, he was aston- 
ished at its calmness and because the eyes 
showed no tears. And there was neither anger, 
nor sorrow in the eyes — they were dumb, and 
they kept silent with difficulty, reluctantly, as 
did the entire plump and helpless body, press- 
ing against the feather bedding. 

" Well, how do you feel ? " inquired Father 
Ignatius. 

The lips, however, were dumb ; the eyes also 
were silent. Father Ignatius laid his hand on 
her forehead ; it was cold and moist, and Olga 
Stepanovna did not show in any way that she 
had felt the hand's contact. When Father Ig- 
natius removed his hand there gazed at him, im- 
mobile, two deep grey eyes, seeming almost en- 
' tirely dark from the dilated* pupils, and there 
was neither sadness in them, nor anger. 

" I am going into my own room," said Father 
Ignatius, who began to feel cold and terror. 

He passed through the drawing-room, where 
everything appeared neat and in order, as 
usual, and where, attired in white covers, stood 
tall chairs, like corpses in their shrouds. Over 

14 



one window hung an empty wire cage, with the 
door open. 

" Nastasya ! " shouted Father Ignatius, and 
his voice seemed to him coarse, and he felt ill 
at ease because he raised his voice so high in 
these silent rooms, so soon after his daughter's 
funeral. " Nastasya ! " he called out in a lower 
tone of voice, " where is the canary? " 

" She flew away, to be sure." 

" Why did you let it out?" 

Nastasya began to weep, and wiping her face 
with the edges of her calico headkerchief , said 
through her tears: 

" It was my young mistress's soul. Was it 
right to hold it?" 

And it seemed to Father Ignatius that the 
yellow, happy little canary, always singing 
with inclined head, was really the soul of Vera, 
and if it had not flown away it wouldn't have 
been possible to say that Vera had died. He 
became even more incensed at the maid-ser- 
vant, and shouted : 

"Off with you!" 

And when Nastasya did not find the door 
at once he added : 

"Fool!" 

15 



II. 

From the day of the funeral silence reigned 
in the little house. It was not stillness, for 
stillness is merely the absence of sounds ; it was 
silence, because it seemed that they who were 
silent could say something but would not. So 
thought Father Ignatius each time he entered 
his wife's chamber and met that obstinate gaze, 
so heavy in its aspect that it seemed to trans- 
form the very air into lead, which bore down 
one's head and spine. So thought he, examin- 
ing his daughter's music sheets, which bore im- 
prints of her voice, as well as her books and 
her portrait, which she brought with her from 
St. Petersburg. Father Ignatius was accus- 
tomed to scrutinize the portrait in established 
order : First, he would gaze on the cheek upon 
which a strong light was thrown by the painter ; 
in his fancy he would see upon it a slight 
wound, which he had noticed on Vera's cheek 
in death, and the source of which he could not 
understand. Each time he would meditate 
upon causes; he reasoned that if it was made 
by the train the entire head would have been 
crushed, whereas the head of Vera remained 
wholly untouched. It was possible that some- 

i6 



one did it with his foot when the corpse was re- 
moved, or accidentally with a finger nai l. ^— ^ 

To contemplate at length upon the details of 
Vera's death taxed the strength of Father 
Ignatius, so that he would pass on to the eyes. 
These were dark, handsome, with long lashes, 
which cast deep shadows beneath, causing the 
whites to seem particularly luminous, both eyes 
appearing to be inclosed in black, mourning 
frames. A strange expression was given them 
by the unknown but talented artist ; it seemed as 
if in the space between the eyes and the object 
upon which they gazed there lay a thin, trans- 
parent film. It resembled somewhat the effect 
obtained by an imperceptible layer of dust on 
the black top of a piano, softening the shine of 
polished wood. And no matter how Father 
Ignatius placed the portrait, the eyes insistently 
followed him, but there was no speech in them, 
only silence; and this silence was so clear that 
it seemed it could be heard. And gradually 
Father Ignatius began to think that he heard 
silence. 

Every morning after breakfast Father Igna- 
tius would enter the drawing-room, throw a 
rapid glance at the empty cage and the other 
familiar objects, and seating himself in the 

17 



armchair would close his eyes and listen to the 
silence of the house. There was something gro- 
tesque about this. The cage kept silence, stilly 
and tenderly, and in this silence were felt sor- 
row and tears, and distant dead laughter. The 
silence of his wife, softened by the walls, con- 
tinued insistent, heavy as lead, and terrible, so 
terrible that on the hottest day Father Ignatius 
would be seized by cold shivers. Continuous 
and cold as the grave, and mysterious as death, 
was the silence of his daughter. The silence 
itself seemed to share this sufiFering and strug- 
gled, as it were, with the terrible desire to pass 
into speech; however, something strong and 
cumbersome, as a machine, held it motionless 
and stretched it out as a wire. And somewhere 
at the distant end, the wire would begin to agi- 
tate and resound subduedly, feebly and plain- 
tively. With joy, yet with terror. Father 
Ignatius would seize upon this engendered 
sound, and resting with his arms upon the arms 
of the chair, would lean his head forward, 
awaiting the sound to reach him. But the 
sound would break and pass into silence. 

" How stupid ! " muttered Father Ignatius, 
angrily, arising from the chair, still erect and 
tall. Through the window he saw, suffused 

i8 



with sunlight, the street, which was paved with 
round, even-sized stones, and directly across, 
the stone wall of a long, windowless shed. On 
the corner stood a cab-driver, resembling a clay 
statue, and it was difficult to understand why 
he stood there, when for hours there was not 
a single passer-by. 

III. 

Father Ignatius had occasion for consider- 
able speech outside his house. There was talk- 
ing to be done with the clergy, with the mem- 
bers of his flock, while officiating at ceremo- 
nies, sometimes with acquaintances at social 
evenings ; yet, upon his return he would feel in- 
variably that the entire day he had been sil- 
ent. This was due to the fact that with none 
of those people he could talk upon that matter 
which concerned him most, and upon which 
he would contemplate each night: Why did 
Vera die? 

Father Ignatius did not seem to understand 
that now this could not be known, and still 
thought it was possible to know. Each night — 
all his nights had become sleepless — ^he would 
picture that minute when he and his wife, in 

19 



dead midnight, stood near Vera's bed, and he 
entreated her : " Tell us ! " And when in his 
recollection, he would reach these words, the 
rest appeared to him not as it was in reality. 
His closed eyes, preserving in their darkness a 
live and undimmed picture of that night, saw 
how Vera raised herself in her bed, smiled and 
tried to say something. And what was that 
she tried to say? That unuttered word of 
Vera's, which should have solved all, seemed 
so near, that if one only had bent his ear and 
suppressed the beats of his heart, one could 
have heard it, and at the same time it was so 
infinitely, so hopelessly distant. Father Igna- 
tius would arise from his bed, stretch forth his 
joined hands and, wringing them, would ex- 
claim : 

"Vera I" 

And he would be answered by silence. 

One evening Father Ignatius entered the 
chamber of Olga Stepanovna, whom he had 
not come to see for a week, seated himself at 
her head, and turning away from that insistent, 
heavy gaze, said: 

" Mother ! I wish to talk to you about Vera. 
Do you hear ? " 

Her eyes were silent, and Father Ignatius 
20 



raising his voice, spoke sternly and powerfully, 
as he was accustomed to speak with penitents : 

" I am aware that you are under the impres- 
sion that I have been the cause of Vera's death. 
Reflect, however, did I love her less than you 
loved her ? You reason absurdly. I have been 
stern; did that prevent her from doing as she 
wished. I have forfeited the dignity of a 
father, I humbly bent my neck, when she de- 
fied my malediction and departed — hence. And 
you — did you not entreat her to remain, until 
I command you to be silent. Did I beget 
cruelty in her ? Did I not teach her about God, 
about humility, about love ? " 

Father Ignatius quickly glanced into the eyes 
of his wife, and turned away. 

" What was there for me to do when she did 
not wish to reveal her sorrow ? Did I not com- 
mand her? Did I not entreat her? I suppose, 
in your opinion, I should have dropped on my 
knees before the maid, and cried like an old 
woman ! How should I know what was going 
on in her head ! Cruel, heartless daughter ! " 

Father Ignatius hit his knees with his fist, 

"There was no love in her — that's what! 
As far as I'm concerned, that's settled, of 

21 



course — I'm a tyrant ! Perhaps she loved you 
— ^you, who wept and humbled yourself ? " 

Father Ignatius gave a hollow laugh. 

" There's love for you ! And as a solace for 
you, what a death she chose ! A cruel, ignomin- 
ious death. She died in the dust, in the dirt — 
as a d-dog who is kicked in the jaw."' 

The voice of Father Ignatius sounded low 
and hoarse : 

" I feel ashamed ! Ashamed to go out in the 
street! Ashamed before the altar! Ashamed 
before God! Cruel, undeserving daughter! 
Accurst in thy grave ! " 

When Father Ignatius glanced at his wife 
she was unconscious, and revived only after 
several hours. When she regained conscious- 
ness her eyes were silent, and it was impossible 
to tell whether or not she remembered what 
Father Ignatius had said. 

That very night — it was a moonlit, calm, 
warm and deathly-still night in May — Father 
Ignatius, proceeding on his tip-toes, so as not 
to be overheard by his wife and the sick-nurse, 
climbed up the stairs and entered Vera's room. 
The window in the attic had remained closed 
since the death of Vera, and the atmosphere 
was dry and warm, with a light odor of burning 

22 



that comes from heat generated during the day 
in the iron roof. The air of Hfelessness and 
abandonment permeated the apartment, which 
for a long time had remained unvisited, and 
where the timber of the walls, the furniture 
and other objects gave forth a slight odor of 
continued putrescence. A bright streak of 
moonHght fell on the window-sill, and on the 
floor, and, reflected by the white, carefully 
washed boards, cast a dim light into the room's 
corners, while the white, clean bed, with two 
pillows, one large and one small, seemed phan- 
tom-like and aerial. Father Ignatius opened 
the window, causing to pour into the room a 
considerable current of fresh air, smelling of 
dust, of the nearby river and the blooming lin- 
den. An indistinct sound as of voices in 
chorus also entered occasionally; evidently 
young people rowed and sang. 

Quietly treading with naked feet, resembl- 
ing a white phanton. Father Ignatius made his 
way to the vacant bed, bent his knees and fell 
face down on the pillows, embracing them — 
on that spot where should have been Vera's 
face. Long he lay thus ; the song grew louder, 
then died out; but he still lay there, while his 

23 



long, black hair spread over his shoulders and 
the bed. 

The moon had changed its position, and the 
room grew darker, when Father Ignatius raised 
his head and murmured, putting into his voice 
the entire strength of his long-suppressed and 
unconscious love and hearkening to his own 
words, as if it were not he who was listening, 
but Vera. 

" Vera, daughter mine ! Do you understand 
what you are to me, daughter? Little daugh- 
ter ! My heart, my blood and my life. Your 
father — ^your old father — is already grey, and 
also feeble." 

The shoulders of Father Ignatius shook and 
the entire burdened figure became agitated. 
Suppressing his agitation. Father Ignatius 
murmured tenderly, as to an infant: 

" Your old father entreats you. No, little 
Vera, he supplicates. He weeps. He never 
has wept before. Your sorrow, little child, 
your sufferings — they are also mine. Greater 
than mine." 

Father Ignatius shook his head. 

" Greater, Verochka. What is death to an 
old man like me? But you — If you only knew 
how delicate and weak and timid you are ! Do 

24 



you recall how you bruised your finger once 
and the blood trickled and you cried a little? 
My child! I know that you love me, love me 
intensely. Every morning you kiss my hand. 
Tell me, do tell me, what grief troubles your 
little head, and I — with these hands — shall 
smother your grief. They are still strong, 
Vera, these hands." 

The hair of Father Ignatius shook. 

"Tell me!" 

Father Ignatius fixed his eyes on the wall, 
and wrung his hands. 

"Tell me!" 

Stillness prevailed in the room, and from 
afar was heard the prolonged and broken 
whistle of a locomotive. 

Father Ignatius, gazing out of his dilated 
eyes, as if there had arisen suddenly before 
him the frightful phantom of the mutilated 
corpse, slowly raised himself from his knees, 
and with a credulous motion reached for his 
head with his hand, with spread and tensely 
stifiFened fingers. Making a step toward the 
door. Father Ignatius whispered brokenly: 

"Tell me!" 

And he was answered by silence. 

25 



IV. 



The next day, after an early and lonely din- 
ner, Father Ignatus went to the graveyard, the 
first time since his daughter's death. It was 
warm, deserted and still; it seemed more like 
an illumined night. Following habit, Father 
Ignatius, with effort, straightened his spine, 
looked severely about him and thought that he 
was the same as formerly; he was conscious 
neither of the new, terrible weakness in his 
legs, nor that his long beard had become en- 
tirely white as if a hard frost had hit it. The 
road to the graveyard led through a long, direct 
street, slightly on an upward incline, and at its 
termination loomed the arch of the graveyard 
gate, resembling a dark, perpetually open 
mouth, edged with glistening teeth. 

Vera's grave was situated in the depth of 
the grounds, where the sandy little pathways 
terminated, and Father Ignatius, for a consid- 
erable time, was obliged to blunder along the 
narrow footpaths, which led in a broken line 
between green mounds, by all forgotten and 
abandoned. Here and there appeared, green 
with age, sloping tombstones, broken railings 
and large, heavy stones planted in the ground, 

26 



and seemingly crushing it with some cruel, 
ancient spite. Near one such stone was the 
grave of Vera. It was covered with fresh 
turf, turned yellow; around, however, all was 
in bloom. Ash embraced maple tree; and the 
widely spread hazel bush stretched out over the 
grave its bending branches with their downy, 
shaggy foliage. Sitting down on a neighbor- 
ing grave and catching his breath. Father 
Ignatius looked around him, throwing a glance 
upon the cloudless, desert sky, where in com- 
plete immovability, hung the glowing sun disk 
— and here he only felt that deep, incomparable 
stillness which reigns in graveyards, when the 
wind is absent and the slumbering foliage has 
ceased its rustling. And anew the thought 
came to Father Ignatius that this was not a 
stillness but a silence. It extended to the very 
brick walls of the graveyard, crept over them 
and occupied the city. And it terminated only 
— in those grey, obstinate and reluctantly silent 
eyes. 

Father Ignatius' shoulders shivered, and he 
lowered his eyes upon the grave of Vera. He 
gazed long upon the little tufts of grass up- 
rooted together with the earth from some open, 
wind-swept field and not successful in adapting 

27 



themselves to a strange soil; he could not im- 
agine that there, under this grass, only a few 
feet from him, lay Vera. And this nearness 
seemed incomprehensible and brought confu- 
sion into the soul and a strange agitation. She, 
of whom Father Ignatius was accustomed to 
think as of one passed away forever into the 
dark depths of eternity, was here, close by — 
and it was hard to understand that she, never- 
theless, was no more and never again would 
be. And in the mind's fancy of Father Igna- 
tius it seemed that if he could only utter some 
word, which was almost upon his lips, or if he 
could make some sort of movement. Vera 
would issue forth from her grave and arise to 
the same height and beauty that was once hers. 
And not alone would she arise, but all corpses, 
intensely sensitive in their solemnly-cold sil- 
ence. 

Father Ignatius removed his wide-brimmed 
black hat, smoothed down his disarranged hair 
and whispered: 

"Vera!" 

Father Ignatius felt ill at ease, fearing to be 
overheard by a stranger, and stepping on the 
grave he gazed around him. No one was pre- 
sent, and this time he repeated loudly: 

28 



"Vera!" 

It was the voice of an aged man, sharp and 
demanding, and it was strange that a so power- 
fully expressed desire should remain without 
answer. 

"Vera!" 

Loudly and insistently the voice called, and 
when it relapsed into silence, it seemed for a 
moment that somewhere from underneath 
came an incoherent answer. And Father Igna- 
tius, clearing his ear of his long hair, pressed it 
to the rough, prickly turf. 

"Vera, tell me!" 

With terror, Father Ignatius felt pouring 
into his ear something cold as of the grave, 
which froze his marrow; Vera seemed to be 
speaking — speaking, however, with the same 
unbroken silence. This feeling became more 
racking and terrible, and when Father Ignatius 
forced himself finally to tear away his head, his 
face was pale as that of a corpse, and he fan- 
cied that the entire atmosphere trembled and 
palpitated from a resounding silence, and that 
this terrible sea was being swept by a wild hur- 
ricane. The silence strangled him; with icy 
waves it rolled through his head and agitated 
the hair; it smote against his breast, which 

29 



groaned under the blows. Trembling from 
head to foot, casting around him sharp and 
sudden glances, Father Ignatius slowly raised 
himself and with a prolonged and torturous 
effort attempted to straighten his spine and to 
give proud dignity to his trembling body. He 
succeeded in this. With measured protractive- 
ness, Father Ignatius shook the dirt from his 
knees, put on his hat, made the sign of the cross 
three times over the grave, and. walked away 
with an even and firm gait, not recognizing, 
however, the familiar burial ground and losing 
his way. 

" Well, here I've gone astray ! " smiled Fa- 
ther Ignatius, halting at the branching of the 
footpaths. 

He stood there for a moment, and, unreflect- 
ing turned to the left, because it was impossible 
to stand and to wait. The silence drove him 
on. It arose from the green graves ; it was the 
breath issuing from the grey, melancholy 
crosses; in thin, stifling currents it came from 
all pores of the earth, satiated with the dead. 
Father Ignatius increased his stride. Dizzy, 
he circled the same paths, jumped over graves, 
stumbled across railings, clutching with his 
hands the prickly, metallic garlands, and turn- 

30 



ing the soft material of his dress into tatters. 
His sole thought was to escape. He fled from 
one place to another, and finally broke into a 
dead run, seeming very tall and unusual in the 
flowing cassock, and his hair streaming in the 
wind. A corpse arisen from the grave could 
not have frightened a passer-by more than this 
wild figure of a man, running and leaping, and 
waving his arms, his face distorted and insane, 
and the open mouth breathing with a dull, 
hoarse sound. With one long leap. Father 
Ignatius landed on a little street, at one end of 
which appeared the small church attached to 
the graveyard. At the entrance, on a low 
bench, dozed an old man, seemingly a distant 
pilgrim, and near him, assailing each other, 
were two quarreling old beggar women, filling 
the air with their oaths. 

When Father Ignatius reached his home, it 
was already dusk, and there was light in Olga 
Stepanovna's chamber. Not undressing and 
without removing his hat, dusty and tattered, 
Father Ignatius approached his wife and fell 
on his knees. 

"Mother . . . Olga . . . have pity on 
me ! " he wept. " I shall go mad." 

He dashed his head against the edge of the 
31 



table and he wept with anguish, as one who was 
weeping for the first time. Then he raised his 
head, confident that a miracle would come to 
pass, that his wife would speak and would 
pity him. 

"My love!" 

With his entire big body he drew himself to- 
ward his wife — and met the gaze of those grey 
eyes. There was neither compassion in them, 
nor anger. It was possible his wife had for- 
given him, but in her eyes there was neither 
pity, nor anger. They were dumb and silent. 

And silent was the entire dark, deserted 
house. 



32 



/\5'3^^/